Short-Term SAT Prep (or What to Do If Your Test Is This Week!)

The SATs are THIS weekend? You completely forgot and now you have no time to prepare--or do you?

Maybe you meant to do more preparation for the SAT and time slipped away from you, or maybe it's just been a busy semester. For many reasons, students can find themselves facing the SAT with little time to prepare. However, that doesn't mean the test will be a disaster! Even if your test is as soon as this weekend, there are actions you can take that can help you succeed. 

Skim a study guide

Looking at a thorough SAT study guide may be one of the only things you do before test day—but it's one of the most important! You won't have time to get into the nitty-gritty on how to approach every question type, but you will have the chance to learn about the test format, the instructions, and what you can expect on test day. Even learning these few things can give you a leg up when you're in the exam room. Conquer anxiety with familiarity!

Related: SAT 101: Handy Tips and Tricks for the Test

Identify your strengths

If you have less than a week to prep for the SAT, now is not the time to start mastering those trig properties you just keep forgetting. Instead, you're going to do something counterintuitive: work on your strengths. This is particularly true if you've never taken an SAT practice test before. If you're a good reader, fantastic! Learn how the SAT tests it (using the aforementioned study guide) and work through some practice problems to get the hang of it. If math's your forte, that's also great! Focus on completing a few math sections and familiarizing yourself with the topics you should keep at the front of your mind this week.

Plan your week

This may seem obvious, but if you only have a few days to prep for the SAT, you'll need to make the most of them! There are great SAT study plans out there, and you can adapt them to fit your needs. Just be realistic about how much time you have—if you give yourself too much work, you'll crash and burn before test day.

Related: Top 3 Smart Tips for Stress-Free Test Prep

Think about a retake

Finally, take some of the pressure off yourself by thinking about retaking the exam. Most students will find they do better the second time around. It'll make your first test day just a low-pressure "diagnostic" test and give you time to get more prep in. If you have the time, it's worth it!

Related: Pros and Cons of Retaking the SAT or ACT 

Are you ready for the SAT? Share your last-minute study tips in the comments!

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About Rachel Kapelke-Dale

Rachel Kapelke-Dale blogs about graduate school admission for Magoosh. She has a BA from Brown University, and did her own graduate work at the Université de Paris VII (Master Recherche) and University College London (PhD). She has taught and written about test preparation and admission practices for eight years.


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